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Loadsa arty stuff, the June McEwan way: Watercolour Painting do's & don'ts

Updated on April 7, 2011

Strathearn landscape

Strathearn landscape. Watercolour sketch on toned paper. (See map below)
Strathearn landscape. Watercolour sketch on toned paper. (See map below) | Source

Do's & Don'ts


a reminder of good practise


DO a tonal sketch first – to establish your values properly.

DO give your audience something to interpret for themselves.

DO choose a simple subject.

DO have a glorious failure, not a miserable one!

DO think hard before you start not afterwards.

DO remember the fewer the strokes used, the better the result.

DO get the adrenalin flowing by setting a time limit.

DO remember washes fade down.

DO vary techniques to add interest. Wet in wet, dry brush...

DO leave peaceful spaces – a complicated landscape needs a simple sky, an elaborate sky needs a simple foreground.

DO make every stroke count.


DON'T overwork your painting – stop as soon as you see the picture looking good.

DON'T make foregrounds too muddy.

DON'T press hard on brushes..

DON'T put too much detail into backgrounds.

DON'T use tiny brushes – they'll make you fiddle.

DON'T use too much water.

DON'T be mean with paint.

DON'T be too safe.

I'm a fan of Alwyn Crawshaw's simplicity of instruction. Have a look at 

Watercolour for the Absolute Beginner: Great Value with More Than 70 Step-by-Step Exercises by Alwyn Crawshaw, Sharon Finmark and Trevor Waugh


Cyclamen, pen,ink & watercolour
Cyclamen, pen,ink & watercolour | Source

Strathearn of which Crieff, where I live, is the capitol


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